German bishop commits to not dismissing LGBTQ church workers

German Bishop LGBTQ workers

A German bishop has issued a written commitment saying church workers will not be dismissed if they are LGBTQ.

Archbishop Franz Jung of Würzburg has publicly declared that priests and other workers in his diocese should not fear any consequences for their sexual orientation.

Jung’s declaration came in the wake of the OutInChurch initiative and the Synodal Way’s third assembly last week. Both of these saw advances for LGBTQ church workers.

Until now, gay employees who live in pairs have been subject to dismissal by the church. With around 800,000 employees, the Catholic Church is one of the largest employers in Germany.

According to Munich-based broadcaster, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Jung’s statement included a personal commitment assuring employees he would not take any labour or disciplinary measures ‘if facts become known that affect the personal lifestyle with regard to partnerships, sexual orientation or the gender identity of individuals’.

The OutInChurch initiative saw 125 LGBTQ church workers publicly come out in Germany calling for non-discrimination. Following this action, the diocese’s vicar general, Jürgen Vorndran, gave a verbal commitment that LGBTQ workers would be protected.

Bishop Jung took this further step because implementing Synodal Way’s resolution on labour law reforms to protect LGBTQ employees may take a while to complete.

The OutInChurch initiative continues to receive public support from German church leaders. Archbishop Stephan Burger of Freiburg said participants in the initiative would not face sanction and said the church must more greatly respect the lives of LGBTQ people. Ten theologians in that archdiocese issued a statement of support with OutInChurch, as well.

Bishop Ludger Schepers, an auxiliary for the Diocese of Essen who is responsible for the German Bishops’ Conference’s LGBTQ outreach, lauded OutInChurch. He acknowledged that he knew some of the church workers involved and that their testimonies “affected me greatly, but also made me angry at how carelessly they were treated in the church”.

Bishop Jung stated his commitment also applies to those working in Caritas and those working in activities related to the proclamation of the Christian message.


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